Categorized | National, Politics

Colorado Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana

 

Amendment 64 Passes

 

Matt Ferner
Huffington Post

 

The Rocky Mountain High State just got a whole lot higher.

On Tuesday night, Amendment 64 — the measure seeking the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults — was passed by Colorado voters, making Colorado
the first state to end marijuana prohibition in the United States.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a vocal opponent to the measure, reacted to the passage of A64 in a statement late Tuesday night:

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will.  This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through.

That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug– so don’t break out the Cheetos or  Gold Fish too quickly.”

The passage of the state measure is without historical precedent and the consequences will likely be closely-watched around the world.  This is the second time Colorado voted on legal weed: in 2006 Coloradans voted the measure down; yesterday, it passed.

Although Colorado “legalized it,” it will be several months, perhaps as long as a year, before Colorado adults 21-and-over can enjoy the legal sale of marijuana.  However, the parts of the amendment related to individual behavior will go into effect as soon as Governor Hickenlooper certifies the results of the vote, The Colorado Independent reported.

It’s a huge victory for the Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the pro-pot group behind Amendment 64.

“Over the past eight years in Colorado, we have argued that it is irrational to punish adults for choosing to use a product that is far less harmful than alcohol,” Mason Tvert, co-director of the campaign, said in a statement.

On the same night that Colorado passed Amendment 64, Washington state passed Initiative 502 which regulates and taxes sales of small amounts of marijuana for adults, The Associated Press reported. Oregon also had a similar recreational marijuana measure on the ballot.

Under Colorado’s Amendment 64, marijuana is taxed and regulated similar to alcohol and tobacco.  According to the Associated Press, analysts project that that tax revenue could generate somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year in the state.  An economist whose study was funded by a pro-pot group projects as much as a $60 million boost by 2017.

Brian Vicente, also a co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, said in a statement:

Today, the people of Colorado have rejected the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

Thanks to their votes, we will now reap the benefits of regulation. We will create new jobs, generation million of dollars in tax revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes.

It would certainly be a travesty if the Obama administration used its power to impose marijuana prohibition upon a state whose people have declared, through the democratic process, that they want it to end.”

The big unknown still is if the federal government will allow a regulated marijuana market to take shape.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who was a vocal opponent of California’s legalization initiative in 2010 saying he would “vigorously enforce” federal marijuana prohibition, has continued to remain silent on the issue this year.

In a report published Sunday by NBC News, President Obama’s former senior drug policy advisor, Dr. Kevin Sabet,  said that if the marijuana initiatives pass, a war will be incited between the federal government and the states that pass them.

“Once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down,” Sabet said.

The DOJ has yet to formally announce its enforcement intentions, however, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said during a recent appearance on 60 Minutes that, “We’re going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we’re going to go after those dangers,” Reuters reported.

(Mr. Ferner’s article has been abridged.  You can read his full article here)

* * * * * * *

Stunned by an Obama win, Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith was equally at a loss for words describing Colorado’s historic cannabis vote last night.  He asked during the final election results, “Wait– did you just say Colorado legalized marijuana?” into his earphone with a look of confused disbelief before returning to his viewers with a pregnant pause, blinking, and not knowing what to say.  It was an awkward moment for Shepard as he stared in apparent discombobulation.

We imagine US Northern District Attorney Melinda Haag was equally baffled as well.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

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